Conservation & Endangered Species

Society membership requires observance of a Code of Ethics regarding the collection of molluscs and is networked with the leading conservation organisations. The society is also working with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Mollusc Specialist Group to list Australia’s threatened and endangered species of molluscs.


The Malacological Society of Australasia considers the preservation and conservation of the fauna of Australasia as one of the society’s most important goals. In keeping with this goal, the council has established a code of ethics to guide the members of the society in their collecting pursuits. By introducing a code of ethics, the council wishes to demonstrate that the Malacological Society of Australasia is a responsible body of naturalists who have a positive role to play in the preservation of Australasia’s living resources.

1. Cause minimal disturbance to habitats
Habitat destruction is the most potent threat to molluscs (and other biota). Although other factors (e.g. pollution, land clearing) cause habitat destruction on a large scale, collectors can have significant impacts on local areas if they do not observe some simple rules:

  • always carefully replace any log, rock, coral boulder etc. immediately after inspecting the underside for molluscs.
  • try to disturb as few habitats (e.g. boulders, vegetation) as possible because the simple act of lifting a rock or log may destroy animals.
  • always observe the laws regulating access to sites (e.g. reserves and parks). These rules have been established to protect habitats and their constituent communities.

2. Collect the minimum number of specimens necessary
Indiscriminate collecting can have devastating effects on local populations of molluscs. In keeping with this, the members should:

  • abide by local, national and international laws governing species and habitats at all times.
  • never collect more specimens than are strictly required for study and if possible collect empty shells.
  • never collect individuals that are involved in reproductive behaviour (e.g. egg guarding, breeding aggregations).
  • try to avoid the collection of juveniles or living individuals with damaged shells. In the first case, these have yet to breed and in the second case, damaged shells, if left alive can add to the pool of animals available for reproducing but are usually of little value to collectors.
  • photography should be considered as an alternative where ever possible (especially for larger species).